Celebrating a Gem

Kemisola Olamiju ARIYO       –           (My reading partner turned an everlasting friend)

The best gifts I have received from God come in form of friends.

Just like your date, 29th February which comes once in four years, I have come to realise that I have very few friends, they don’t always come easily. There are many people around me, but very few friends, about half a dozen of them.

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Tell me, what can I say about that look?

You, Kemi, are one of these few friends I am no more afraid to lose any more than I am to lose my life. I remember almost losing you. I remember two occasions in which our friendship was going down the drain – all to my fault, and on each occasion, you worked hard to sustain it, you gave me time to realise my mistake, you gave me time to reluctantly eat the humble pie, you gave me time to water down my ego, to come apologise, to come strengthen the bond again.

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Those little teeth

I remember meeting you in our first year in the university, Kemisola, you initiated it, but I am sure it wasn’t just you, it was God. I came to the university to be a loner, I wanted to be all to myself, didn’t want to be known, wanted to hide, but no matter how hard I try to hide, some things in me would just throw me into the light, and that was how you knew about me, something around the social messenger (Whatsapp), something around talking in the class, and you thought you needed my help, not knowing the reverse was the case, I was the one who needed your help, I was the one who needed to be discovered, there were many things hidden in me, some good, some bad, and I needed to discover them, to improve on them, to make the bad good, to make the good better, and all the time you never stopped helping me, thinking I was helping you.

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keep smiling.

You made me realise my fears, my desires, and joy. You encouraged and still encourage when I need it. We share certain things, our lives converge, and then diverge, and the divergence I have come to appreciate, I saw things in different view, I learnt to be less rigid, to bend few rules in favour of others (and I have broken some rules for you – in case you don’t know, you are the only female friend whose food I have eaten on OAU campus), to accommodate more, to love more. You have been my own foil character, and each time I think about meeting you, I think about having met an angel.

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This must be a Monday.

I became more of Kemisola, and at a point people began to think up something romantic going on between us, they were supposed to do that because we ‘were’ always in each other’s pocket. People would call me to know where you were. They were always right. We were always together, like we were meant to be. Until a change of hostel took me farther away from you in the beginning of our second year, and people began to think we had “broken up”, Imagine, break up, in which sense? Well, with location, we went a bit apart, a bit less in each other’s pocket, but out friendship remained ‘pristine’, and when I almost strained it, because of my masculine ego and ‘discipline’, you gave me the chance to come back, to be your friend.

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Someone asked if this was a pre-wedding shoot, and I was like “That is some east-west separation.

I remember nights, when reading became boring, we would talk and talk, and people in night classes would stare and stare at the ‘unserious lovers’ that we looked like, talking away their time. Hmm, reading helped us, it helped me through you, but talking helped much better, the little trivial things, the very serious things – and I ended up discovering we share so much in common. And despite this, we were only meant to be friends, no strings attached, just friends, and it was difficult convincing people we are just friends (who are not just friends), and I gave up trying to convince them.

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African! Purely African.

I remember your pair of glasses. You loathe wearing it, and I was instrumental to its loss. You always looked good wearing it, but you didn’t like it until it got lost and you were affected to an extent. You actually look better without it. And I am praying you don’t have to wear it again.

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We all love you.

I remember how you always tripped when we were in our first year. Three days would not go without you tripping and falling at times, and I ended up calling you Windy.

I remember you saying your brother and I look alike, that we both have big heads, but that we are both handsome. I have never met him, but his pictures validate your statements. He is handsome, he has ‘big’ head. And then again, he has a bit of agidi, just like me. I am sure I will equally love him.

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your own version of shakomended glasses, looking good.

I cherish our friendship, the way we kid, smile, laugh and frown. You puzzle me with your mood swing (upon which you have now improved). You are one of the people who make me say “one of the greatest puzzle God has given men to solve is the complexity of women”. You would want this now, and that later. I would say I am giving you the benefit of the doubt. We would bet, and I would lose most times. I lost when I said I would get about 90% in a paper but ended up with around 80%. I have lost to you on many occasions.

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Let’s say you love flowers, you are more beautiful than they are.

But I have won once. I got the trophy. You have always said ‘something’ would not happen to your ‘heart’ until our third year in school. You said it with resolute determination. I saw it, that determination to make a choice when the time ‘comes’ – and you lost it (positively). I was right, loving (romantically) is not a choice, it is spontaneous, it just happens, but staying (in love) is the choice. We can choose to stay in love.

And I was right after all. It happened to you. It happened when I least expected it. I am not supposed to know how it happened. Our mutual friend and you. Two of you felt it, I don’t know who did first, but two of you made the choice, such Chemistry. You asked me for a piece of advice. I had very little to give because I didn’t have the experience, or the testimony. If I must advise, I should at least have something to back my point, and so I gave the little I had, when it happens to me too (preferable with an Igbo lady), I may have to seek your advice too.

I can continue typing and typing and I will not be done in a whole day. But I will have to stop. I cherish you. I love you (as a friend should). I pray that God give you long life and good health, make you fulfilled, give you happiness and extend it to your family, make you grow spiritually (helping you to fulfil you present assignment as a cell pastor in your fellowship), help your academics and protect you from going astray.

God bless your new age, Kemisola.

Happy 5th Birthday!

NOTE: I used the past tense in some cases, not because we are no more friends, but because we do not do those things as much as before.

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SILENT RESTART

It was an evening blessed with the warm rays of the setting sun. OAU bats were on the rampage again, flying in different directions, hovering above
buildings and people. Their ugly looking feathers, spread in the sky, became beautified under the radiation of the now setting sun.

Sammy had gone to the rendezvous, a little bust stop where students boarded vehicles to their halls of residence. He wasn’t there to board a vehicle, neither
was he there to watch the sea of heads that either kept straight to their direction or looked around and dawdled up and down. He was there to meet Titi, his one
time girlfriend, his partner of a failed relationship.

When earlier that day, Titi asked to meet him at the place, he was surprised. In the eight months that their relationship had crumbled over the custody of Sammy’s laptop for a weekend, they had only exchanged one statement. It was rather a molehill, but the mountain made out of it saw to the beginning of the end
of their relationship.

It was Titi who first said it. “It is over between us”. He was shell-shocked but not as much as exasperated that Titi’s selfishness knew no bounds. Then he
blurted too, “it is over” and then thought about what he just said. What a sequence, thinking after speaking. He wished he had not said it, he wished he had been more patient, but he would never eat his words, real men never did that.

Titi did not look penitent, she only turned and left as if she had waited years for Sammy to tell her off. Sammy looked at her as she left and remembered the
pleasant past they had. The times of being a willing victim of debt over expensive dinners, times of romantic hangouts, the times of little pecking, times of holding each other’s hands and waking silently across a vast field of green grass.

Here she was, walking away with all his love, all his gifts and leaving behind a vacuum that will not be easily filled, sadness that would linger, thirst that would never be quenched, a punctured emotion. He did not cry, the tears refused to flow. He however went to bed on an empty stomach that seemed to be too filled to accommodate food.

That was eight months ago, and he had gotten over her quicker than expected. Today however, he waited patiently for her to show up. He couldn’t decipher why
she wanted to see him.

When she showed up in her flowery gown and a white scarf that flowed down her shoulders, she looked beautiful as usual, even without her blue eye-shadow
or the purple lipstick that first attracted him to her. They shook hands with each other and then a moment of brief silence followed.

“Sam”, she called as if stammering, looked straight into his eyes and back onthe ground. He didn’t see her face, it was now turned towards the ground, as if
reading from the sand what she would say next. He chose to fix his gaze on her
chocolate scalp, that scalp that once served as his meal, the one on which his tongue had practised its laundry expertise.

“I am sorry”, she said, still failing to meet his eyes.

“For what?”, he must have said it loud because she looked up and wore a quizzical look, a frown that seemed to make her more beautiful.

“I am sorry for leaving you”.

“What are you saying?”, he asked with a straight face, a face that was absent of any evidence of affection.

“I should not have been so irrational”, she cut him short. “I knew you needed your laptop. I knew how so much you loved me. The time I have spent without
you couldn’t have been more hellish…”

He was enjoying the words. They were sweet to his ears but he wore no such look as to show his happiness. Instead, he chose to hurt her a little, so he spoke
to her like a father chiding his daughter.

“Titi”, he said, placing his right hand on her shoulder. “I am happy I met you, but I am happier you left”. The words painfully dug into the deep recesses of her heart.

“Those times you were away have been the best of my life”. She wanted to slap him. She wished he could see how raging the fire which his words had flamed was but
she kept mute and tried to wear an ingratiating look.

“I have built my CGPA”. He looked into her eyes and saw a mist of tears ready to be released by the next blink. He didn’t care.

“I have realized how much my life depended on you. It should never have been so. I was too blind, blinded by love”. A sob escaped her, it encouraged him to
say more. “I was fooled by you, I played the dumb head”, she sobbed the more, it tickled him the more.

“Now I don’t want you in my life any more”. She cried and attracted some passers by. She tried to mutter a word, she found none.

“You once made a fool of me, but that was with my consent. You cannot have the consent again”.

“Sammy please” she said with a drawl. It began to hurt him to see her cry. So he chose to leave but not before he shove a white handkerchief into her hand.

“You may wipe your tears with this”, he said and turned away.

He moved few steps and looked back. She was still there and they had a one-to-one eye contact. She had dropped the handkerchief.

He moved farther away from her and looked back again. They had another eye contact. It glued him to that spot. He turned to her and the memories of the good
past came flooding, replaying really fast. He stretched his arms to her, his face still void of any emotion. As if remote-controlled, she ran towards him like a child going to a cone of ice cream.

She ran into his arms. Their embrace was brief but it felt like a whole day. With the hug went all the sadness, loneliness, anger and resentments. They held each other by the hand and Sammy thought of many things at the same time. “Women sha, such necessary evils”.

He considered apologizing for the heavily caustic words he said to her earlier but he was not going to cede his new found control on any account. He
embraced her again, whispering into her ears like he always did.

“I love you”, she said. It was then he realized she had never said it before their breakup. It convinced him, he wanted to say the same but he didn’t. He only held her hand in his, and squeezed lightly as they both dawdled along the vast field of green grass in silence that communicated a million messages.

I am @me_ablad on twitter.

NEW MOTHER, NEW CHILD BY @me_ablad

I am sure you want to read this.

OSCARPOEMS

Hello people, @me_ablad has something for us. Please read, enjoy and drop your thoughts to encourage. Thanks and have a wonderful time…

The instant the car window was rolled down, there was an exchange. While the woman at the steering felt the rush of warm air into the car, the boy holding out his hand for the alms felt the artificial coolness of the air-conditioner of the SUV caress his face. He was not satisfied with the cool air however, it never filled empty stomachs. He wanted money, and today that his benefactor had come again, he enjoyed the breeze for as long as it took her to pass the money across to him.
It usually did not take long before she gave him money or other stuff she brought; in fact it was always less than a minute. It seemed to him that she knew he was waiting, always…

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UNDER AN ORANGE TREE (A Drama)

ACT 1
The scene is under an orange tree. Yomi, a village teacher walks in from the left side. He meets Bimbo, a school student, who also comes in from the right side of the stage. Both are unaware of Segun, a popular troublemaker, running mad as a result of addiction to marijuana, who is on top the tree with a dagger, peeling and eating oranges.

Yomi:   

Bimbo, Bimbo. How were you today? (Segun stops eating oranges. He adjusts and sits calmly, watching the two)

Bimbo:

(Bends to show respect) Fine sir, but my English language teacher said it should be ‘how are you?’ and not ‘were’.

Yomi:   

(feels abashed) I just have to know if you are fine. And your English Language teacher, he or she should be forgotten now, like the fart of a mad man. The fart itself, smelling no matter how bad, doesn’t make him any better. He as well could smell more offensive than his fart. A three year old has had more baths than he.

Bimbo:

And if this village is something I know well, there is no such mad man as Segun. (Segun opens his mouth, almost as if to talk but calms down) His fart, competing with his body smell, is in a battle as good as lost. I will rather sleep in the same bed with a pig than walk on the same path with Segun. (Segun frowns)

Yomi:   

(Spits disgustingly on the floor) For me, a pig is much better a living thing than compared with Segun. That is too great a favour to grant him, and too mortifying a remark for a pig. I may have to choose my faeces over Segun.

Bimbo:

(twists her nose in disgusts). That’s bad. Well thank you Mr (mocks him), Mr Tissa. (They giggle). Shall I say I am lucky to meet you today? Or that you rather are?

Yomi:   

We are both lucky to meet each other. Well, you may want to believe that I am luckier. That is if that feminine pride of yours has not gone.

Bimbo:

T-I-S-S-A! I am not proud. And if turning you down means pride, so be it. I don’t want to get invol…

Yomi:   

(Cuts in) get involved because of what? See, this feeling is mutual, don’t deceive yourself, you love me. Or like, at least. (Bimbo tries to talk but Yomi stops her with his index finger on her lips). If you are afraid of anybody, tell me. We can make it secret and I am sure you will enjoy it.

Bimbo:

It is not that I don’t hmm…but…but…errr…err (she scratches her head). Really I don’t know what to say…

Yomi:   

What to say is not a problem, I only wish that you are mine. I don’t want you to end up in the hands of some idiots, idiots like Segun whose life is a mistake from the creator’s hands, a result of few minutes of pleasure between senseless lovers.

Bimbo:

Why are you so hard on that unfortunate boy? It is not as if I have told you he asked me out. On that day when he emerged from a bush on the way to the stream with smoke oozing out of his mouth like Sango, I had thought he would let me be but what he did was strange.

Yomi:   

Really? He asked you out? That wild beast! What was he thinking? That we normal male members of the homo sapien race do not value such an angel like you?

Bimbo:

I wonder o. He just came and touched my behin… (corrects herself). He wanted to touch me. (Segun bites his index finger) If he had not been fast enough to hold my hand, an eclipse of the world would have occurred to his eyes. More so, I didn’t want to have any struggle with him. (Yomi drops his lesson note and a cane on the floor). So, I had to say yes when he started saying nothing sensible.

Yomi:   

It is a Yoruba adage; call a mad man your husband so that he lets you go. (Segun whispers to himself; “me, mad man?)

Bimbo:

(Offended). Ah…ah, I haven’t called him my husband. He can never be my husband. Never!

Yomi:   

(Persuasively) But can I? We will be a perfect match…think of it.

Bimbo:

Tissa! See, you too know, I deserve something better, something more…

Yomi:   

(cuts in) something better than I am? (feels abased). I am educated. I have a job…

Bimbo:

Yes. You have a job. You teach. But I will never marry a teacher, not even the one who can only boast of a pair of shoes and some old clothes.

Yomi:   

(feels resentful). Does that refer to me? As in…you think  I deserve all that?

Bimbo:

(faces down). I know you feel bitter, but I have to be sincere. I want a fulfilled man. Someone who will take me out of this village to a better place, a place where I will be better educated and accomplished. Not to become another mother of Segun, or a wife to such person.

Yomi:   

But you should have hope in me. I am the best man for you here. With your brilliance, I can sacrifice all for you. And take you away from here, maybe someday. Away from rogues like Segun.  (Seguns smiles up the tree)I have good intentions for you…

Bimbo:

Good! You have good intentions but dear Mr Yomi, you are in the wrong place with good intentions, and it will never work. To be candid, you are just a little better than the likes of segun, (segun sticks his tongue out in the direction of Yomi) except that you are educated, and do not smoke, what other things. You even live in a room in his father’s house, which automatically makes him your landlord. You are good and handsome, but men must know, that it is not only handsomeness, or brilliance that solves the problems of a woman. There’s more to it. I want an accomplished man. I won’t eat love alone forever…

Yomi:

(Picks his lesson not and cane on the floor, sad and ready to leave). Thank you. I have heard enough. (Segun bites his lower lip as if to mock Yomi) But I pray you and other ladies like you will see better beyond now and farther into the future, where there lie treasures of everlasting fulfilment, and know that it takes time for a man to be fulfilled and most times, this happens with the help of his partner, his wife…until then, I will be praying for you. Promise me you will not tell anyone about this.

Bimbo:

I won’t. And please, don’t see this as some sorts of embarrassment. It is just the truth. I rather would not waste your time.

Yomi:   

(turns to leave). I have had it in mind to joke with you someday with this, but seeing now how contingent that is, let me do it now. When you get home, open you dictionary and check your name “Bimbo”. It is not to offend you though.

Segun: 

(speaks from tree top) Tissa. (Both Bimbo and Yomi are scared at the discovery of Segun’s presence) You are in trouble o. Wait for me with this knife. (he makes attempt to climb down as Bimbo and Yomi take to their heels in different directions). Make you run very well en? But make I know meet you for my papa house unless you get your six month arrears rent o…. (He climbs down and continues to laugh).

THE END

FIRST WARNING

FIRST WARNING

Cynthia turned to see what made her tremble. A man had entered the room in the few seconds she had spent opening the fridge for a drink. She had seen guns in movies, today, it was real. The man pointed one at her. She dropped the bottle in her hand and the drink flowed rapidly as if to escape the room.

Cynthia wished the land under her feet could open and swallow her. She was clueless. Should she start begging? Or attack? She looked at Clinton playing on a chair next her dressing table. Could she save Clinton?

“Don’t move!” the man’s hoarse voice snatched her from her thoughts. 

The man moved closer in a menacing pace. He gripped her neck and pressed the pistol hard against her forehead. It felt cold, death felt cold. She needed to pray, possibly her last.

The pistol was silent. It was only a matter of luck that it wasn’t Cynthia’s blood that splashed in the room. The man had pulled the trigger; its effect was a confluence of Clinton’s blood and the spilled drink. 

Cynthia closed her eyes in agony and pressed her teeth against her lower lip so hard that she could taste blood. When she opened her eyes, they were bloodshot; she could see her blurred image in the mirror now painted in Clinton’s blood. The man had left her with a smudge on her neck.

The man tucked the gun under his blazer and flashed Cynthia his phone’s screen. It had Mrs Kingsley’s picture. She was the woman whose husband she had been seeing. She understood and could only thank her stars that the nauseating sight of gun was no more, and perhaps, that cold death had passed her over.

“This is a first warning” he said. “It should be the last, or you die” he added with a smirk that emerged from the corner of his eyes.

“Now, promise me” the man said, “that you will remove that thing in your stomach”. 

“I promise” Cynthia blurted, amazed at how fast she could speak. She could only hope that was all. That sinister small machine in his blazer must not work again, not today, not anymore as far as it concerned her.

“Be seen with Mr Kingsley and die”, he threatened and made out of the room. 

Cynthia locked her door against the man. When she pressed a button on the wall, it sent light down a golden chandelier and she could see more blots of blood.

Clinton lay, lifeless in the pool of its blood. She released the mist of tears in her eyes, sad her dog had to die for barking, but then, she thought, it could have been worse.

She picked her phone beside her T.V and searched for her doctor’s number. Cynthia caressed her tummy and pitied the foetus inside. It should be gone. After all, promises are to be kept and there was only a first warning.

 

MISCONCEPTION

I have had issues with many people about misconception and it seems everyone has been at the receiving end of its effects. I have as well been a victim most times. That though, does not mean it is something I am giving up on. It is something I have always tried to erase from my path.

That said, there are more questions than answers on misconception. What actions lead to misconception? When do people start having misconceptions about you? How do we tackle misconception? What if your attempts fail?

The answers to the above questions vary and may better be provided based on individual experience(s). So if you find it difficult to agree with my points, I tender my apologies. You can provide your thoughts in the comment box.

What actions lead to misconception?

Image

You may have thought pleasing everyone is a sure way to earn yourself the “humble” tag. I think (I mean ‘think’) you are wrong. When you try to please everyone, they tend to take your behaviour as natural. And this, against your bargain, will work against you when you act like your real self. I am a victim of this.

Being unnecessarily quiet is another way to give people the wrong feeling about you. When you fail to talk at the right time, people may take your silence as ‘yes’ to a situation to which you would have said ‘no’. This does not mean that you should talk all the time. It is your duty to find out if the person you are dealing with understands what your silence means.

Lying

A few lies may save you from big trouble you know? (That’s if you are not religious and hell doesn’t scare you anymore). However, you may need a thousand more lies to ‘buttress’ one lie. This case will make people believe what is not real about you as long as you are able to provide enough cover up for your initial lie. You are not doing yourself any good.

Not being yourself will not help you either.

There are many other actions that make people have wrong belief about you. You can help in the comment section.

When do people start having misconceptions about you?

People will start to have mistaken beliefs about you as soon as you give them enough reasons to do so. To be straight, it will be as soon as you exhibit any of the above actions.

For example, I used to have a friend who copied another person’s post and changed the characters. The post was awesome that I had to ask him about who edited it for him. He told me it was original and that no one edited it for him. I had to copy the first paragraph of the post and google it, (you have to forgive me for the doubt). I knew better after consulting google.

When I told another friend about it, he simply said that I was gullible enough to believe my other friend. I simply answered that I never doubted him until then that he gave me a reason to.

So when you pretend, keep quiet unnecessarily, live to satisfy everyone, tell lies, you are giving people the green card to have false beliefs about you. And you may have to regret it after all.

How do we tackle misconception?

I heard about an illustration sometimes ago and I will use the same here. Imagine your friend and you are travelling to Lagos and Abuja respectively in different cars from Benin. You choose to take the same route as does your friend. Knowing that you are wrong, you continue following him until you get to Ore, then Ijebu-Ode. After you are told that it is not the way to Abuja, you think of the distance and decide to continue in the wrong way. Now this is it, if you don’t turn to Abuja, the more you go, the farther away from Abuja you will be. So, until you stop doing what gives people wrong impression about you, people will continue to have false beliefs about you. And that isn’t something you want to give a testimony about in the next thanksgiving service in your church.

What if your attempts fail?

Yes, you may have gone too far in making people believe the unbelievable about you but if your attempts fail you, you can always try again, trying different measures. For example, if you have told your friend that Adolf Hitler’s mother-in-law is your wife’s great grandmother and your friend is beginning to see you as someone with ties to Third World War, you will have to do a lot to convince him, otherwise, your name might just pop up someday on the list of people threatening world peace.

So if you do anything that gives fallacy about you, try as much as you can to stop it or at least reduce the frequency at which you do it.

Wishing you all the best in 2014.

I am @me_ablad

Image source: google.com

THE PROPHET AND HIS CUSTOMERS

THE PROPHET AND HIS CUSTOMERS

The scene is a church building which is roofed with rusty zinc sheets. The wall is half-built giving a view of the interior. Hanging from a door is a cross made of dry palm leaves. Inside the church are wooden chairs and tables. A table is on a pavement known as the church altar which is carved with wooden handrail. The table is covered with a piece of white cloth on which something is written in Yoruba language as “MIMO! MIMO!! MIMO!!!” which means “HOLY! HOLY!! HOLY!” On the table is a candle stand which has three candles sticks of colours red, white and blue. A non-working wall clock is placed on the table. A kerosene lantern, the shade of which is now dirty (no thanks to smoke) is hung across a vertical pole supporting the building roof. There are two chairs beside the table and one in its front. The one in the front is taller than the others and it looks like a throne, apparently for the owner of the church. It is constructed to give the user the comfort of sitting in a reclining position. It has arms and a stool on which legs can be placed.

It is early in the morning. Woli Gbogunmi the church prophet sits on the throne-like chair. His legs calmly placed on the stool while his arms are also placed on the chair arms. Woli Gogunmi is dressed in a blue garment and a red girdle tied round his waist. On his head is a specially designed cap which is as tall as a town’s central mosque. It has a design of a cross a little above the forehead. Woli Gbogunmi closes his eyes and opens them at irregular interval. His lips are moving but no sounds are heard. He appears to be in the spirit. He is a posture that makes us think he is an angel. He is set for the day’s “work”.

ACT 1 Scene 1    (In the Church)

Enters Mama Abiku with sandals on.

Mama Abiku:                     E kaa ro baba. (Good morning Sir)

Woli Gbogunmi:               Eh! Eh! See this woman. How dare you enter Mount Sinai with sandals on? Go out and correct yourself.

Mama Abiku:                     (Rushes out and puts off her sandals. She impatiently comes in) Baba, E maa binu si mi. I’m sorry. Please I need your help. Please save me (She pants).

Woli Gbogunmi:              (Condescendingly). Calm down woman. You are in my church. Your problems are solved. Erm what is yo…

Mama Abiku:                     (Cuts in) Baba I know that you are great. I have been told. I need urgent help. My case is an emergency. (She starts weeping)

Woli Gbogunmi:              (Self-glorifying) I said you should be calm. Don’t you know where you are? Don’t you know my name? I’m Gbogunmi…Woli Gbogunmi – the man who swallows   mountain of problems. (He smiles briefly and frowns again) In my church, the barren are made pregnant, lame walk, deaf hear, blind see, dead live. What haven’t I done? I have laid my hands on a dead dog and it came back to life. I have commanded wells to be dry. I have set fires on water. I have commanded a live cobra to enter a bottle. What else can give me problem? Who is your mountain before Gbogunmi? Just tell me your problems.

Mama Abiku:                     I’m tired of life. I have fasted and prayed. I have been to twenty-seven mountains. I have bathed in twenty-one rivers. I have eaten the dirtiest of concoctions. I have made the most dangerous sacrifices, in three-road junctions, in seven-road junctions, at round-abouts. I did these at dangerous times, at 1.00am, 3.00am and 12.00am. I have seen all the demons of the night and the witches of the day. Baba, baba, baba…

Woli Gbogunmi:              (Seems indifferent) I said you should tell me your problems and forget about their existence. I am the one behind the voice of the masquerade. When I talk, no problems live. You’ve come to the right place and at the right time. (He brings out a rod from in between his body and the girdle. He uses it to make a cross sign on Mama Abiku’s forehead and chest) Peace be unto you. Wipe your tears.

Mama Abiku:                     (Wipes off the corner of her eyes with the edge of her scarf but still crying) I have been married to Ogunwole for five years yet without a child of my own. I have done everything possible. I have once eaten a raw snail yet to no avail. My husband’s relatives call me a witch. They say I am married to a spiritual husband. They say I killed my first child. They say I can never have a child of my own again. Baba, e jo wo, e ma je ki temi o gbe.

Woli gbogunmi:               (Shakes as if cold water is sprinkled on him, his white beard flinging from side to side. He speaks in tongues) Scrababracadabra-bro-sagmanimosalimoooo. Hmmm! (he stands up) Tell me, with whom did you fight recently? Ah Oh eeh scrobracadabracolokokokodabra

Mama Abiku:                     (She thinks for a moment) Yes! I should have known. Ah! Baba, save me. It is my mother-in-law. I know she killed my first child. She threatens me in life as much as in dreams. That wicked woman! I saw her in my dreams last night. She chased me with clubs and cutlass.

Woli Gbogunmi:              (still speaking in tongues and shaking his body as if soldier ants are under his garment) Now that you are here, your problems are solved. Don’t let her know that her secrets are open. Now listen to me.

Mama Abiku:                     (stands up and kneels down, eager to hear from the prophet, Gbogunmi) Ah! Aye mi o! That woman! She didn’t want me to marry her son. If not because I got pregnant, I wouldn’t be in his house. Now the child died before he was even named. That is why people call me Mama Abiku. I wish he had a name before he died. (Continues crying). I wish they could instead call me by my name, Abike.

Woli Gbogunmi:              Listen to me. We will appease the witches in your mother-in-law’s cult to deliver you. Will you bring everything I ask for?

Mama Abiku:                     Yes! Anything to have another child. To stop bearing Mama Abiku. Tell me, name it and it will be here before dusk.

Woli Gbogunmi:              (Speaks in tongues with eyes closed) Reborabascabariborabrecocacolafanta You will bring seven thousand naira, seven gallons of palm oil, seven white native cocks, seven seeds of bitter cola, and seven coconut fruits. That’s all.

Mama Abiku:                     Is that all? Give me two hours and I’ll be back. (She rushes out tying her head-tie as she goes)

Woli Gbogunmi:              (Quietly) People and their problems. If this one doesn’t have a problem now, how will I eat? Who knows if her mother-in-law is not her problem in any way? Who cares to know? (He brings out a small antelope horn from under the altar table and mumbles inaudible words to it. He sits down)

SCENE TWO (Mama Abiku’s House)

(Ogunwole, Mama Abiku’s husband sits on a chair in the room; his mother sits on the bed. The both of them are talking when Mama Abiku comes in without knocking)

Mama Abiku:                    (Angrily) Mama, you are here again! So you know I have gone out on your case? Are you here to disturb my success? You have already failed. Your secrets are open. You cannot send me out of this house. Two hours, I say two hours and your case is closed. Mama buruku, mama iya.

Mother-in-law:                Ah! Ah! Abike, what are you saying? I am not here to disturb your success. Please sit down and let us talk. We have been out for your own good. Your husband has things to tell you.

Mama Abiku:                    I couldn’t have guessed better. Have you found a new wife for my husband or you want to send me packing? Give me five minutes and I will be out of this room. (To no one) Where is this money? (She opens her bag to get some money)

Ogunwole:                         My wife, sit down and let me talk to you. I have offended you. I never knew I have been putting you in pain all this while. Just listen to me.

Mama Abiku:                    (Now calm and paying attention) Go on.

Ogunwole:                         Our inability to make a baby after the death of our first child is my fault. My medical test revealed I am infertile (he covers his face in shame) the doctor told me there is solution to the problem. He prescribed diet that could help. (He begins to shed tears) and…

Mama Abiku:                    (Cuts in) So it was not you. (She points to her mother-in-law)  So, it is not about witches. Ogunwole! Ah! You have been punishing me all this while. That Oloriburuku Woli is in trouble today. (She rushes out, her scarf tied around her waist)

SCENE THREE (The Church)

(Woli Gbogunmi sits in his angelic posture. Smoke wreathes from an incense burner placed in front of him. A cock runs into the church followed by a smelling male goat. He stands up to chase the animals out of the building. Then he sees Mama Abiku coming, her scarf tied round her waist. She holds a club shouting and saying abusive words)

Mama Abiku:                     Pastor Ajeri-eke. Woli Iya. Stupid man. It is today I will expose you. You are a fake man of God. I shall behead you today

Woli Gbogunmi:              (He runs around for safety; the animals follow suit) Obinrin yii. Have you run mad? You are supposed to be here with the materials for your deliverance. Why the wood?

Mama Abiku:                     Wait for me and see who needs deliverance. (She enters the church. Woli Gbogunmi runs helter skelter. Mama Abiku chases him shouting. The goat and cock also run for their lives. In a jiffy, people gather to watch the melodrama)

The ignorant go around searching for what is not lost.

I am @me_ablad on twitter

CUPID’S ARROW

CUPID’S ARROW

Unexpected but it struck, no horror,

Cupid’s arrow, its sword hit; no warrior,

My lips, sealed, dumb, they won’t talk,

I pray, express my tender thing, lest it stalks.

My heart, pump blood, beat, thy little task,

Fall for a thing, for another heart, shouldn’t you first ask?

Wait, till the time I could elope with her to the moon,

 A home, secluded for lovers wanting so soon.

Even the moon, so seems, a little place; too little place,

To give, take and share what we embrace,

The galaxy, waiting, brightening our world,

A place, where fantasies were never odd.

 

Could never be happier being in a flood; her flood,

I wait to be drowned, to be sunk in her love.

 

 

 

Confused was the word Biodun could use to describe his present state of mind. This mythic Cupid’s arrow had hit him hard at the wrong time and about the wrong person. He had read about such in books; how two can fall in love with each other. He had seen in movies too and believed it all to be fiction. Nollywood is such an industry where waste products are produced over and over. Now, Biodun seemed to be acting the Desmond Elliot and Emeka Ike.

Human beings are fickle after all. He was knowingly breaking his vows. He wasn’t supposed to have a girlfriend until he gets to the university. Now, he was just a decision away from breaking the vow he made at age twelve when he was just admitted into secondary school.

Biodun was from a religious family. His father was not the one you could call a rich man, neither was he poor. He earned his living as a Pastor of one of the new generation churches. Well, (if you care to know), new generation churches are the so-called Pentecostal churches as against the orthodox (old generation churches which are now mostly occupied by adults.

Pastor Olaolu, Biodun’s father was the kind of father a child would always dread. He was principled, in all ways. He governed his family authoritatively. He had hundreds of rules for the family. No rough dance or music, no friends, no short skirts or transparent clothes. At leisure, there are three options, read books, bible or pray. No visiting or hosting of friends.

Biodun was seventeen. His two sisters, Rachael and Dammy were fifteen and thirteen years old respectively. They were also beautiful. Their ‘oranges’ were okay, at least ripe enough to be plucked by Senators. They were the typical Omo Pastor.

Back to business, Biodun just couldn’t get over his feelings for Aminat, his classmate. He was writing his mock exam. He could not describe how he developed his lustful interest in Aminat.

His father’s voice as he delivered a stern warning echoed in his head. “A boy should not have a female friend until he has finished his education”, Pastor Olaolu had said in one of his moral meetings with Biodun.

Biodun knew quite a number of his classmates who had girlfriends. Mr. Osunkwo, his school Principal had a ‘black book’ in which he wrote the names of the ‘prostitutes’ caught in the school and he went as far as expelling some of them. As much as Biodun could remember, there were Wale (a.k.a Desco), Posi, Ibukun, Ayo, Bidemi (a.k.a Stadex), Ayo, Segun (a.k.a Planet) and Kelechi among others. They all had ‘lovers’. The ones not caught are still innocent. At least you are presumed innocent till caught.

Mr. Osunkwo and Pastor Olaolu were literally identical in beliefs and principles. The latter had constantly praised the former on his disciplinary posture to young ones. Biodun’s father believes that Mr. Osunkwo was the perfect Principal for this ‘immoral generation.

“Education is not a right for children who do not know its worth”, he would say whenever he addressed his students on the Assembly Ground in front of his windowless office tagged with a big PRINCIPAL sign on the lintel. This was at AGBA College, Ore, Ondo State.

Biodun always feared Mr Osunkwo’s look. The latter was however friendly to him, at least, as long as he does not disobey his Moses’ commandments.

Aminat was not bad, neither was Biodun. Aminat was the youngest daughter of the highly charismatic polygamous Alhaji Usman. Alhaji had told her several times that it was ‘haramu’ to have another lover apart from the rich Alhaji Tajudeen to whom she would be married after her secondary school education. Alhaji Tajudeen could only be patient till the end of her secondary school education. No more, no less. She didn’t like the idea of marrying Alhaji Tajudeen. Had she a say in the matter, she would have said point blank that she didn’t love the old man whose beard and white hair scared away children. To Aminat, the man was nothing but a scarecrow.

Aminat and Biodun had a thing for each other. The problem however was about who would express it first. The only method they knew was the constant staring at each other in the class. Their mates had started to notice.

“Can’t you see how Aminat and Omo Pastor are behaving to each other these days?”, Posi would say to Waliu, the same way many others gossiped about the duo.

“Don’t tell me you don’t love that boy. He is such a handsome guy, and he is brilliant too. I’ll do anything to taste those pink lips of his”, Janet, the one ‘unexpelable’ girl that the Principal called ‘Chief Prostitute’ once told Aminat. Popularly called Saint Janet, her untouchable status came about as a result of her father’s friendship with the school Proprietor.

“Leave me alone. Abi who hold you? Did i say you should not do whatever you want to do with him?”, Aminat responded as they sat under the huge neem tree in front of their class.

Janet hissed, made a balloon bursting sound with the gum in her mouth before replying Aminat ““I am just stating the obvious. Everyone in the class knows you love him. You may be from different religions but that makes it even better. Alhaji’s daughter and Pastor’s son, lovely combo”, she said, teasing Aminat. Her facial features changed into something more serious and she looked straight into Aminat’s eyes “You two have got your hearts and feelings; it is not just about your parents now. Think of it, in this class, Ayo and Abigail, Waliu and Kemi, Ibrahim and I, Stadex and Funke, we are all enjoying ourselves. Art Class is such a paradise on earth. We will never be caught in the act” as she looked straight into Aminat’s eyes”.

On another occasion, Segun Planet called Biodun. “Guy, no dey deceive us o. We know you love Aminat. You are just shy. Hear this; I used to be shy too. When I started with Funke before Stadex took over from me, I wrote her a short letter. It was all I needed”, Segun said to Biodun on his way from the school’s Christian fellowship.

Although, Biodun paid little attention to Segun and left him without a response, he carefully thought about the boy’s suggestion. “Writing a letter to Aminat won’t be bad now”, he thought to himself.

Aminat on her part could not deny the tingly feeling Biodun gave her. She questioned severally the wisdom behind having the kind of funny feelings she had anytime he was close to her. She knew what she wanted but was not sure she could give in to him. “Keep faking yourself, you will fall yakata for him”, something inside her head told her. In the deep recesses of her heart, she was waiting patiently, hoping that day would come when he would walk up to her to talk her into a relationship. She thought of the controversy she was opening herself to with the idea of dating a Christian. Alhaji would behead her because of that shameless scarecrow, Alhaji Tajudeen. “I don’t even know what he sees in me after three old women”, she thought.

When Biodun woke up to write the letter, he wasn’t afraid. It was a night towards Monday morning. His father would see the reflection of the bulb in his room and think he was studying hard. The letter was precise

“Dear Aminat, I hope you will understand why I am writing this to you. I have tried to get over you but it seems I’m destined to fail on that. Now the impossibility lies with you. Much love. I am 1,2,9,15,4,21,14. Decode with corresponding letters of the Alphabet. Thanks.

***********************************************************************

Biodun could not believe he finally did it. His conscience tugged at his heart strings. “You are now one of the prostitutes, a member of the evil generation”, his conscience spoke. He almost blurted out that it was no big deal. He could not believe he did it.

He looked for a way to borrow Aminat’s Literature textbook and shoved in the letter before returning it. Aminat readily guessed what it was when the borrowed textbook was returned with a piece of paper in it. She grinned, retrieved the paper and went out of the class ‘to ease herself’.

15 minutes later, their class teacher, Mr. John (the students called him short John) came into the class with his register. The class greeted and he began to mark the attendance. “Number one, two”… he went on without waiting for the students to respond.

As he called the numbers, his broken teeth were exposed. The incident about the teeth was a case on its own. It was as a result of a shot of opa eyin (alcoholic concoction). On the fateful day, he was the first to taste Mama Risi’s opa eyin.

Mama Risi was the alcohol vendor who always added excess alcohol to her herbal medicine. This drew more customers to her. On the fateful day, Short John had ‘loaded’ his system with Mama Risi and was staggering as he made efforts to find his way to his room at the AGBA staff quarters. In the process of ‘shining his eyes’ as he always said after his regular dose from Mama Risi, he missed a step and fell losing parts of his two upper incisors as they broke into smaller pieces as a result of his humpty-dumpty like fall. The incisors were reshaped in a triangle form towards the gum. It was an incident that made one wonder if it was correct to say “a lot can happen over a glass of Valeta”, instead of “…over a glass of opa eyin”.

As Short John was leaving the class, he requested for a literature textbook and readily sighted Aminat’s which was still on the girl’s desk.

At 9.30 am on Monday, the noise-making school bell was rung for emergency. Mr. Osunkwo was in front of his office while the students lined up. He held a long “pankere” cane in his right hand and bent it from side to side to assess its strength.

“Quiet!” Osunkwo shouted and brought out a book from his back pocket. At the sight of the book, Biodun knew that at least, one other name had entered the black book.

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